It's September and it’s getting colder outside. Soon it will be fall, the time to seal up homes for the winter, prepare to start the furnace, and getting ready to use fireplaces. This is the time of year when many carbon monoxide leaks are found.
On August 1st, a new law went into effect within the state of Minnesota which requires that ever new and existing single family home have a carbon monoxide detector installed within 10 feet of every room used for sleeping. Multi-family homes and apartment buildings must comply by August 1, 2009.
According to the State Fire Marshall website:
- Every single family dwelling and every multifamily dwelling unit shall be provided with a minimum of one approved and fully operational carbon monoxide alarm installed within ten (10) feet of each room lawfully used for sleeping purposes.
- If bedrooms are located on separate floors additional carbon monoxide alarms would be necessary within ten feet of these areas.
- If bedrooms are located in separate areas (on the same level), additional carbon monoxide alarms would be necessary within ten (10) feet of these areas.
- In lieu of installing multiple carbon monoxide alarms in the hallway, a separate carbon monoxide could be installed inside each sleeping room.
- It is important that these devices be installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s installations instructions and not be placed in ‘dead’ air pockets such as corners of rooms, at the junction of walls and ceilings or within thirty-six (36) inches of ventilation ducts.
- Carbon monoxide alarms shall be installed at the height specified in the manufacturer’s installation instructions.
- Carbon monoxide alarms have an effective life-span of 5-7 years. Many manufacturers recommend these devices be replaced at six (6) year intervals.
If you need further information on Minnesota's new carbon monoxide detector law, visit the Minnesota Fire Marshall Website at www.fire.state.mn.us
How does this impact you if you are selling a single-family home? It means that you must purchase and install them. Otherwise, a professional home inspector may rate your house as dangerous for not being up to current code. You really should have a carbon monoxide detector anyway for your safety. They can save a life in the same way as a smoke detector.
Carbon monoxide has no odor. The initial symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to many illnesses: nausea, headache, fatigue. Most people who feel the symptoms feel as if they’re just coming down with the flu. The vague symptoms can make carbon monoxide poisoning particularly deadly because those who are exposed to the gases may go to bed to “sleep it off” instead of seeking help, which can lead to tragic consequences.
Protect yourself and the people you love by purchasing a carbon monoxide detector with a loud enough alarm to wake people in the night. A good one will cost less than $50, which when compared to what could be lost is a very a small price to pay.